Intel urges halt to installing its Meltdown/Spectre patches

by Edgar Hayes January 23, 2018, 1:33
Intel urges halt to installing its Meltdown/Spectre patches

The Intel chief executive promised speedy release of patches during his most high-profile public comments since the release of research highlighting vulnerabilities affecting the chips powering most modern PCs and many mobile devices.

"We ask that our industry partners focus efforts on testing early versions of the updated solution so we can accelerate its release", Navin Shenoy, general manager of Intel's data centre group, said in a posting on the company's website.

Patching certain variants of the Spectre vulnearbility requires Intel to rewrite processor firmware, a challenging task that's much harder than patching the security flaws at a browser and operating system level.

The company says it has identified the problems behind the bug, which potentially leaves the Broadwell, Haswell, Coffee Lake, Kaby Lake, Skylake, and Ivy Bridge chip generations open to intrusion.

Each time news trickles out about just how insane this unprecedented industry event really is, cloud vendors and data center managers consider buying servers from AMD or ARM vendors the next time their systems need to be replaced.

Intel recommends that its customers stop distribution of the current version, as these patches may introduce unwanted behavior, including frequent reboots. To check whether your system may have a problem, check the full list of processors at the Intel Product Security center. "I assure you we are working around the clock to ensure we are addressing these issues", added Shenoy.

"We continue to urge all customers to vigilantly maintain security best practice and for consumers to keep systems up-to-date", he said.

Torvalds flagged the possibility of an extra release candidate last week, with the caveat that "it obviously requires this upcoming week to not come with any huge surprises" after "all the Meltdown and Spectre hoopla" made his job rather more complicated in recent weeks. A spokesperson for Intel told Business Insider that the company is working on the Haswell and Broadwell chips first, and will subsequently work on fixes for other models.

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